A Conversation with Distinguished Professor Papaioannou

Meet the People of Zarb: C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor George J. Papaioannou

[Note: This is one in a series of posts to highlight the people who contribute to making the Zarb School of Business a special place.]

Here is our Q&A with Dr. Papaioannou, one of the Zarb School’s distinguished professors.

  • Could you describe your educational, academic, and professional background.

I received a BA in Economics from the Economic University of Athens (Greece) and an MBA from Duquense University (Pittsburgh).  I did my doctoral studies at Pennsylvania State University from where I graduated with a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance.

My professional experience, prior to my Ph.D. includes five years of work in accounting and financial analysis and planning at Greek manufacturing firms.

My academic career started at Baruch College and continued at Hofstra University in 1982.  I am currently the Vice Dean of the Zarb School of Business and the C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor in Finance and Investment Banking.

  • What are your major areas of teaching and research interest?

My teaching has mainly focused on Corporate Finance and Investment Banking.  Harnessing the tools of Finance to organize and steer the finances of organizations, I find this to be a challenging business task.

My research interests have centered around issues where corporate decisions and capital markets come together.  That is, how the financial market responds to such decisions, like switching a firm’s stock listing to another marketplace, announcing a takeover decision or a stock dividend, or maintaining a capital structure.

My other research strand has investigated the position of investment banks in the underwriting markets and how that is affected by various firm and market factors.

My more recent research has looked at the cost of capital and international cross-listing of stocks.  In general, I have pursued an eclectic portfolio of research ideas.

I have published in such journals as Financial Management, Journal of Financial ResearchFinancial Review, Managerial and Decision Economics, European Financial Management, and Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance.

  • What is your philosophy with regard to the three major goals for ZSOB faculty: teaching, research, and service?

For a school that provides undergraduate and professional graduate business education, all three goals are important.

I am an advocate of the teacher-scholar model.  Teaching transfers knowledge and mind-expanding information to the younger generations so that they can become productive and well-informed citizens.  At the very least, we should do that.  When we can also inspire our students, then we have accomplished something unique.

Research is necessary because it keeps us up to date with the new knowledge in our discipline.  This is what we can then transfer to our students.  Research also keeps our minds sharp as we try to absorb and critique new knowledge and make our own contribution.  Each time our research is approved by our colleagues for publication, it’s like passing our own tests.

Finally, service is what makes faculty academic citizens and institution builders.  Through service in curricular and extra-curricular areas, faculty can impact the quality of education, direction of their institution, and the place of their students in society and professional world.

  • Please describe some of your accomplishments while at the Zarb School.

In 1986, I founded the Finance Seminar Series which still runs after 28 years.

During my years as Department Chair (1989-1992), the Department of Finance made critical progress toward a culture of quality research and raising its scholarship standards.

In 1995, I conceived the idea to establish a center for international finance which I co-founded with my colleague Esmeralda Lyn under the name Merrill Lynch Center for the Study of International Financial Services and Markets.

In 2005, I became the C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor in Finance and Investment Banking.

In 2010-2012, I coordinated with Dr. James Neelankavil the strategic planning process of the Zarb School.  I believe the plan has done a lot to focus and channel the School’s energies toward a well-define path of development.

In my present job as Vice Dean, I have the opportunity to operationalize many of the initiatives of the strategic plan.

  • How have you seen the Zarb School change over the years?

With the additions of the Medical School, the School of Engineering, and the School of Health Sciences and Human Services, Hofstra has truly become a comprehensive educational institution of higher learning.

At the same time, the Zarb School has changed dramatically.  The faculty who joined the school after my coming here have brought valuable expertise and talents in teaching and research.  The sophistication and diversity in the use of instructional technology, the proliferation of research and publishing, and the development of capabilities in delivering distance learning, all provide opportunities and outcomes that make Zarb a very desirable place to be as a student or faculty.

Thanks to the dramatic growth of international education, Zarb has the privilege to be the academic home of hundreds of international students, mostly from China. 

A more transformative change that has been in development for several years is the attention to the total development of our students both in terms of academic skills as well as soft but critical skills for successful business careers, like leadership, communication, networking, and understanding other cultures.

  • What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have an eclectic taste in music — from pop to classical — and I like to read books on history, culture and ideas, science, and religion.  Also, I like movies and traveling.

  • Any final thoughts?

I have spent thirty five years working as an academic and recently as a university administrator.  It’s the place I always wanted to be and I am enormously lucky to have had that. 


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